LOS ANGELES – In a tightly played affair Saturday night at STAPLES Center, the Kings’ shootout woes continued to haunt them in a 3-2 SO loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Kings now lead the NHL with 11 losses after regulation this season, and have failed to score on their last 22 shootout attempts. The Kings have extended past regulation in each and every one of their three games against Anaheim this season, and nine of their last 10 regular season meetings have been one-goal games.
“We played a pretty good hockey game, but we need to close it out coming into the third period,” said Marian Gaborik following the game. “Obviously the shootout has been an issue for the whole year. The points are getting away from us in the shootout, so we just need to find a way to put some goals in.”
Neither club allowed much in the opening frame, both teams registering 10 first period shots, but there were few, if any, scoring chances.
Alec Martinez got the Kings on the board midway through the second period when his one-time slap shot from the point ricochet off of a Ducks defenseman and past Frederik Andersen.
Martinez’s goal, his fifth of the season, gave the Kings a 1-0 lead.
“They have a good hockey club, and they have a pretty good goaltender,” Martinez noted after the shootout loss. “Against a team like that you want to throw as many pucks on net as possible and make their goalie make saves.”
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf evened the score with just over five minutes remaining in . the second, jamming home a rebound after the Ducks won an offensive zone faceoff.
Immediately after Getzlaf’s equalizer, Jakob Silfverberg caught Brayden McNabb with a high stick, drawing blood, giving the Kings a four-minute power play. As time dwindled on the Kings’ man-advantage situation, and the period, Marian Gaborik found Anze Kopitar to give the Kings a 2-1 lead with 1:33 to play in the second.
After working with the puck atop Anaheim’s zone, Kopitar snuck down low to the far side of Anaheim’s net, where he found himself open for Gaborik. Gaborik, seeing the lane and the opportunity, fed Kopitar a pass, which he slammed past Andersen.
Kopitar’s goal was his 11th of the season; he now has nine points (3G, 6A) in the last six games.
The Kings couldn’t maintain their 2-1 lead in the third; Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen struck on Anaheim’s second and final power play of the evening with 8:08 to play in regulation, burying a slap shot that deflected off of defenseman Matt Greene and past Jonathan Quick.
In overtime, the Kings outshot Anaheim 4-3, and had one solid scoring chance to show for it. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik had a golden opportunity to connect once again, but the play broke down at the last moment.
In the shootout, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, and Marian Gaborik all failed to score on Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen. Jakob Silfverberg was the only player to score in the shootout, beating Jonathan Quick in the second round.
“We just can’t pick the right guys,” Darryl Sutter said of the Kings’ shootout troubles. “I think we played really well. Jeff, Kopi, and Gabi. If you were betting on the game in shootouts wouldn’t you choose Jeff, Kopi, and Gabi?”
The Kings are now 2-11 in the 13 games they’ve played this season that have extended past regulation time. Their 11 SO/OT losses are the most of any team in the NHL.
Eight Kings players recorded one point, Drew Doughty and Jarret Stoll led all players in shots taken (4), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (9), Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, and Matt Greene in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (31:20). Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the loss.
With the loss, the Kings’ record drops to 20-14-11; their mark on home ice at STAPLES Center falls to 5-8-6. The Kings are now 1-2-3 on their current seven-game home stand, which they’ll put a cap on Monday night against the Calgary Flames. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.